South Carolina expects teacher shortage

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Teachers are considered an important part of your child's education, yet statewide, South Carolina is having trouble bringing more into the classroom.

The State Department of Education describes the current situation as "critical".

In several regions of the state, school districts are reporting annual teacher shortages. Several educational agencies say recruitment is more important than ever, as the future shows there will be an even greater shortage.

An annual report from Winthrop University shows more than 5,000 teachers leave the state's public schools each year, while only 2 thousand education majors graduate from state colleges. These numbers mean over the next decade we could face a shortage of as many as 40,000 teachers across the state.

People say it's not hard to believe the teacher gap is widening.

"I'm not surprised," said Tammy Collins, whose daughter is a teacher. "The demands that teachers have today. I'm not surprised there is a shortage."

The Horry County School District Human Resources Department tells WMBF News while there are high need areas for teachers, they don't expect to see a shortage in classrooms. Part of the reason is because of the district's location in the state- the Grand Strand draws many people in, and because Horry County has big efforts when it comes to recruitment.

The district says many teachers are picked from inside the state, because they already know South Carolina's educational system. But the district also targets teachers from universities in other parts of the East Coast and in the Midwest. They send principals and district officials to meet and talk with candidates.

There are specific subject areas where the district is especially looking for help-- such as Special Education, Math, Science and Spanish. The district's human resources executive director says recruitment is crucial to giving your child the best education.

"We're looking for the very best candidate that we can," said Dr. Addie Swinney, "Because parents send us the very best they have. And therefore we want to provide a very viable candidate to put in the classroom with those children to make sure their educational experiences are worthy."

Right now the district is preparing to recruit for next school year. Many of the efforts will kick-off this April at different colleges and universities.

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